7 Things You Realize in Your First Relationship

First relationships can be daunting. Sometimes you feel too young, sometimes you wonder if it’s happening to you too late, or if it’s supposed to be happening to you at all. There’s a lot of pressure from media for your first relationship to be your one and only. You’ll end up making mistakes but hopefully, you’ll learn some things from the experience. Specifically, these things:

1. How to Communicate

You ever watch a movie and go, "wow they could have avoided two hours of conflict if they just communicated openly and honestly with one another"? Relationships are like that too. Most people learn, at some point during or after their first relationship, that it’s much easier in the long run to just talk sh*t out openly than ignore it or bottle it up.

2. Be Careful Who You Vent To

All relationships have roadblocks. You can’t avoid that, and it’s natural to want to vent about things to your friends. However, don’t be shocked when things smooth over with your partner and your friends still hate their guts. Your friends are only getting a small (or big) peek into your relationship, and what you say can color their perception of your partner long term.

3. Compromise

Not everything can go your way all the time. You learn to compromise because you learn that everyone is different. Your partner might have a different love language than you and might have different needs than you’re used to. Keep an open mind.

4. Respect

You can deeply care about someone and have no respect for them. This can come out in how you talk about your relationship or how you respond to your partner’s requests or feelings. Relationships without respect often become frustrating and petty, with one or both partners lashing out.

5. Maintaining Independence

It’s really easy to go from a "you and I" to a "we" in a first relationship. I blame it on the honeymoon phase, when everything is in sync and you can’t get enough of each other. But that can quickly turn into holding your partner responsible for your happiness, which only leads to disappointment.

6. Recognizing Red Flags

There are a few red flags we’re trained to look for: controlling behavior, violence, a secretive nature. But there are plenty of red flags we aren’t trained to see until it’s too late. No relationship is perfect and there will be things in your first serious one that affect your future relationships and the behaviors you’re willing to take into stride or not.

7. Liking Someone vs. Liking That They Like You

Of course, it can be overwhelming and exciting to find out someone likes you, especially when you’re attracted to them. You start to realize that maybe you like them too. The next step naturally feels like going on a few dates and entering a relationship with them. However, it’s important to distinguish the difference between actually liking that person or just liking that they like you.

What are some things you learned in your first relationship? Let me know on Twitter!